Bring a Trailer Bargain of the Week: 1987 Lamborghini Jalpa

Lamborghini brought the Countach name back for a new generation, but the original is an icon for a reason. However, like many other classic supercars, it comes with a price tag to match. But the Countach wasn’t Lamborghini’s only wedge-tastic car—and those other wedges are often more affordable. Case in point, the bargain car this week on Bring a Trailer: a 1987 Lamborghini Jalpa.

The Lamborghini Jalpa looks like a Countach but offers its own thrills—including Lambo’s last NA V8

A red 1984 Lamborghini Jalpa S with a rear spoiler
1984 Lamborghini Jalpa S | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Like the Huracan and the Gallardo before it, Lamborghini created the Jalpa to be the Italian brand’s entry-level model. And it was rather successful in that regard, thanks in part to its Countach-like design (down to a similar optional rear spoiler). Before the Gallardo came along, the Jalpa was Lamborghini’s best-selling car ever, MotorTrend reports.

The Jalpa has another claim to fame within the brand—well, besides its appearance in Rocky IV. Although the Urus SUV comes with a twin-turbocharged V8, the Jalpa was the last Lamborghini with a naturally-aspirated V8. Mounted in the middle, this 3.5-liter V8 makes 255 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque, sent to the rear wheels via a gated five-speed manual. And while American models’ emissions equipment robbed the engine of about five horsepower, the Jalpa still managed a 5.8-second 0-60 mph time, Silodrome says.

That 0-60 mph time was respectable for the period, but in truth, the Lamborghini Jalpa “feels…and sounds faster than it is,” Hagerty says. Though considering how “raw and visceral” that quad-cam V8 sounds, that’s by no means a bad thing. Know what else isn’t a bad thing? How normal the mid-engine supercar feels to drive, Hagerty muses. Visibility is excellent, the gated manual shifts easily, and none of the controls feel overly heavy or difficult to use. And yet, the Jalpa is still a supercar that can handle racetrack duty, making it not unlike its Huracan descendant.

There’s a 1987 Jalpa listed on Bring a Trailer right now

Like all Lamborghini Jalpas, the 1987 example currently listed on Bring a Trailer has a removable targa roof, pop-up headlights, and four-wheel disc brakes. And besides the gated shifter, this car also features power windows, a Jaeger digital clock, an aftermarket Sony stereo with Phoenix Gold speakers, and a Blaupunkt subwoofer. This Jalpa also has A/C, though the system itself has been removed. And it rides on 15” Eurospares wheels wrapped in recently-replaced Michelin TB15 Racing tires.

Although the front air dam has been repainted and there’s some bubbling paint on the rear spoiler, this Lamborghini Jalpa only has about 27,000 miles on the clock. It also has a zero-accident history and extensive service records. And it has extensive recent service, too.

Besides the relatively new tires, this Jalpa also has refinished paint, a refurbished speedometer, new parking brake pads and cable, refurbished front struts and rear shocks, and repacked CV joints. The current owner also flushed the brake fluid, and lubricated the shifter box, and replaced the exhaust, rear differential seals, clutch, and clutch slave cylinder.

And then there’s the engine-specific maintenance. After the seller acquired this 1987 Lamborghini Jalpa, they removed the V8 and serviced it. This included removing the US emissions equipment, refurbishing the carburetors, and installing Euro-spec airboxes. And recently, the seller changed the oil, adjusted the timing chain, and painted the engine cradle. Also, they replaced the radiator, cooling fan, water pump seal, rear main seal, thermostat, and engine mounts. Plus, they overhauled the ignition system, replacing the spark plugs and wires, refurbishing the alternator and distributor, and installing a new battery.

It was good enough for Rocky, and this classic Lamborghini Jalpa might be the vintage supercar for you, too

The rear 3/4 view of a red 1984 Lamborghini Jalpa S with a rear spoiler
1984 Lamborghini Jalpa S rear 3/4 | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

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As of this writing, this 1987 Lamborghini Jalpa is listed for $40,000 on BaT with three days left in the auction. That’s a below-average price for a Jalpa in this condition; cars like this typically cost about $55K, Hagerty reports.

Given that this is a vintage Italian supercar, maintenance costs and potential headaches are valid concerns. As always, a pre-purchase inspection can identify future trouble spots. And because Jalpas have been relatively affordable for years, they often suffer from deferred maintenance, MT notes. However, given this 1987 car’s service history, that’s likely not an issue. Plus, because this Jalpa doesn’t have the US-spec airboxes, future service should be noticeably easier, Car and Driver notes. And the seller also addressed a common issue: failing engine mounts.

So, if you want the Countach look without the price tag, this Lamborghini Jalpa might be the bargain you’re looking for.

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